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31st October Movie Review 2016: Lost on emotional content

Soha Ali Khan, Vir Das

Cast: Soha Ali Khan, Vir Das

Director: Shivaji Lotan Patil

The film takes us back to 1984 when violence broke out on 31st October as ex-prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her body guards outside her home. They were Sikhs named Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. The story does not end there. The Sikh community had to bear the repercussion of the act of these two body guards who were arrested immediately. However the next few weeks was a death knell for most of the Sikh's all over the country. About 2,500 or more Sikhs were killed in the riots that took place.

31st October has been directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil. This is his debut Hindi venture. The director has won a National Award for his Marathi movie Dhag earlier. How he has fared with this film is what remains to be seen.

Story: A Delhi Electric supply undertaking (DESU) worker Devinder Singh waves off his children to school and is busy getting ready to go to office.  It starts as just another day for Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking (DESU) worker Devinder Singh (Vir Das) who lives with his family of two children and wife Tejinder (Soha Ali Khan) in the busy Tilak Nagar of Delhi. As the day begins he sees off his children to school and is preparing to leave for office.  News flashes that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has been assassinated by her body guards. The aftermath of the situation begins in the second half of the day.  There's mayhem as rioters do not spare any Sikh seen within the vicinity of Delhi. Devinder and his friends   Pal (Deepraj Rana), Yogesh (Lakhwinder) and Tilak (Vineet Sharma), realise that his family is stuck in Tilak Nagar and rush to rescue them. However it's too late. The area has been cordoned off by the police. The drama begins. Does Devinder manage to safe guard his family from the rioters?  Who helps them during the turmoil is what the film is all about.

Direction:  There is a lot of expectation from the National Award winning director but then the film begins on a right note but falters down. The script is shoddily written. There is a lot of confusion writ on the actors face as they go about their scenes. The first half drags on and the second half is something that remains unexplained. Even the riot scenes are badly handled. A sensitive subject like this needed to be handled carefully but director Shivaji Lotan Patil did not seem to get the pulse of the subject and hence gives a marred note down of events during that period. There are a few emotional scenes when you feel that the film will take off from there. However they are splatter of scenes which do not connect to the entire plot. Director Shivaji could have added more emotional content or played on certain riot scenes in this 1hr 42 minutes film.

Music of the film is too jarring and loud. When you take up a sensitive topic, the music plays an important part and a subtle background score would have helped the pace of the film.

Performances: Vir Das has tried his best to salvage the film with his Sardar look  but  seems he was not the right choice. Soha ali Khan as his wife in the film has not got much to perform expect weep at every situation.  The rest have given able support. 

Verdict: Definitely avoidable over the weekend especially if there are special personal memories connected to that period. As they say justice delayed is justic denied.

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